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- Highs Massive selection of cabs, boxes, and engines, huge available touchscreen, among the best in max towing.
- Lows Not as lavish as Ram, cheaper Silverado can out-tow it, Super Cruise self-driving system limited to Denali trim.
- Verdict The Sierra 1500 is everything you'd love about a Chevy Silverado, but with more attractive sheet metal with marginally less towing capacity.
Full-size pickups are the top three bestselling vehicles in the U.S., and the GMC Sierra 1500 repurposes the guts of its mechanical twin, the Chevy Silverado, in an attempt to compete in the upscale side of the segment. Its massive configurability is your friend. The Sierra 1500 is available as a single cab, double cab, or four-door crew cab with beds ranging from 5.8-to-8.2 feet in length. Engine options include a 310-hp turbo four-cylinder, a Duramax turbodiesel with 460 pound-feet of torque, a 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8, and a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 with as much torque as the oil burner. The Sierra 1500 has the third-highest conventional towing capacity of all half-ton pickups with a max rating of 13,200 pounds. Go ahead, tow that 747. While the Sierra's available 13.4-inch touchscreen is impressive, the rest of its interior, unfortunately, doesn't match the richer feel of the top-spec Ram 1500's cabin in terms of materials or quality of assembly.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
GMC ups the Sierra 1500's off-road capability for 2023 with a new AT4X AEV Edition which features equipment from the folks at American Expedition Vehicles. This dedicated dirt-purposed vehicle gets steel front and rear bumpers with recovery points, as well as a winch up front. Additional steel skid plates protect the underside of the front end, the steering components, the transfer case, the fuel tank, and the rear differential. The AT4X AEV Edition gets gloss-black 18-inch AEV Salta wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires. The AT4X AEV Edition is an additional package available only on the off-road-focused version of the AT4X trim that was added for 2022.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We like the Sierra Elevation trim level because it occupies a middle ground in terms of price but comes with a desirable appearance package that looks cool. You'll also have to select between a few different cab configurations and bed lengths depending on what fits your needs. All-wheel drive is available at an extra cost should you require it.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Sierra is available with four different engines, two different transmissions, and rear- or all-wheel drive. The base setup is a turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 310 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. There are two V-8 options: a 355-hp 5.3-liter and a 420-hp 6.2-liter. A torque-rich diesel six-cylinder generates 460 pound-feet. All three engines hook up to a 10-speed automatic. At our test track, a loaded Denali Ultimate model with the 6.2-liter V-8 hit 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. The Sierra 1500 also can be had with adaptive dampers and wheels as large as 22 inches. While the Sierra lacks the extreme off-road abilities of the high-flying Ford F-150 Raptor, it does offer two dedicated off-road variants. The rugged AT4 model boasts a 2.0-inch suspension lift and other legitimate equipment. The AT4X shares exclusive features with the Silverado ZR2, including advanced spool-valve dampers, electronic-locking front and rear diffs, extra skid plates, and gnarly off-road tires mounted on black 18-inch wheels. An AT4X AEV package adds even more serious off-road accessories, like a steel front bumper with a winch, AEV 18-inch wheels, and steel rock sliders Sierra has a rougher ride than the Ram 1500, but it still handles remarkably well thanks to responsive steering and restrained body roll.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The half-ton GMC pickup can tow up to 13,200 pounds and support a payload up to 2240 pounds, when properly equipped.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Sierra 1500 has several different powertrain combinations, which means its fuel-economy ratings vary. Those most concerned with fuel efficiency should entertain the optional diesel engine, which is rated up to 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. However, most Sierras will be packing the 6.2-liter V-8 that comes standard with every Denali model. It's estimated to earn up to 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway when paired with all-wheel drive. The Sierra 1500 Denali we tested achieved 18 mpg in our real-world highway test. For more information about the Sierra's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Sierra is designed with the driver in mind. The controls are all easy to reach and the quality of the materials generally increases with the trim levels. Starting on the SLE, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel becomes standard. Spending big on the upper trims unlocks even more desirable features, including a heads-up display and a power-adjustable steering column. The Denali Ultimate is where things get seriously upscale thanks to open-pore wood trim and a surplus of leather-covered surfaces. The front seats also feature 16-way power adjustments as well as massage functions. Interior cubby storage is more than adequate for storing all manner of small items and stuff. While GMC doesn't offer any particularly innovative storage features, the Sierra 1500 can be had with a trick tailgate that has multiple configurations. There's also a class-exclusive carbon-fiber-reinforced cargo bed that is lighter and supposedly stronger than steel.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Most Sierra 1500s feature a 13.4-inch touchscreen through which the truck's infotainment system runs. This larger screen includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. It also has built-in Google software that allows users to access an app store, maps, and a voice assistant. Other available features include a 12-speaker Bose audio system, wireless phone charging, and additional power points.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The half-ton Sierra has a host of standard driver-assistance technology. It's also available with nifty off-road assists, such as a Terrain Mode that allows one-pedal driving in low-speed situations. The GMC can be fitted with a multicamera system that even has views where the driver can virtually see through a trailer if they're pulling one. The Denali can be equipped with GM's Super Cruise hands-free-driving tech, which operates on a vast network of roads across the country and can even be put to use with a trailer attached. However, it'll only change lanes on its own if there's nothing hooked up to the truck. For more information about the Sierra's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
GMC provides a competitive warranty plan that can't match the Nissan Titan's coverage but does include one complimentary scheduled maintenance visit.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate V-8
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
Base/As Tested: $84,995/$84,995
pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 376 in3, 6162 cm3
Power: 420 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Suspension, F/R: control arms/live axle
Brakes, F/R: 13.0-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Alenza A/S 02
275/50R-22 111T M+S TPC Spec 3112MS
Wheelbase: 147.4 in
Length: 231.9 in
Width: 81.2 in
Height: 75.5 in
Passenger Volume: 136 ft3
Bed Length: 69.9 in
Curb Weight: 5586 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 5.4 sec
100 mph: 13.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.9 sec @ 100 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.9 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.1 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.9 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 106 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 182 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.78 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 15 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 17/15/20 mpg